Ordinance to merge J&K IAS, IPS, IFoS cadre with AGMUT

The new Union Terriroties are beset with acute shortage of officers, MHA said earlier

The Centre promulgated an ordinance on Thursday to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre of All India Services Officers such as the IAS, IPS and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS) with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.

The ordinance implies that officers of the three services posted in the Union Territories of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep, Chandigarh and the three States mentioned above can now be posted in J&K and Ladakh and officers of the J&K cadre can be posted there too.

Since the government cancelled the winter session of Parliament, the ordinance signed by President Ram Nath Kovind amended the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 that bifurcated and downgraded the former State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

Section 88 of the principal Act amended on Thursday read, “The members of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service for the existing cadre of J&K shall be borne and become part of the Arunachal Pradesh Goa Mizoram Union Territory cadre and all future allocations of All India Services officers for the Union Territory of J&K and the UT of Ladakh shall be made to AGMUT cadres for which necessary modifications may be made in corresponding cadre allocation rules by the Central government.”

It said the “officers so borne or allocated on AGMUT cadres shall function in accordance with the rules framed by the Central government”.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 also amended Section 13 of the principal Act by inserting the words “or any other article containing reference to elected members of the legislative Assembly of the State”.

In November last, “beset with acute shortage of officers” in the UT of J&K and Ladakh, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) shot off letters to several Central government departments to seek consent of officials willing to be posted to the two UTs.

A Home Ministry spokesperson did not comment on reasons regarding the issue of an ordinance on the subject. The ordinance will have to be ratified by Parliament when it is in session.

The letter sent to the Ministries and departments of railways, defence, commerce, customs and excise, posts, telecommunications said, “The new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh are beset with acute shortage of officers.”

The former State of J&K was downgraded and bifurcated into two Union Territories by Parliament on August 6, 2019.

The J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 had said officers belonging to the IAS, IPS and IFoS in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir “shall continue to function on the existing cadres,” till the Lieutenant Governor of J&K determines the final allocation of such officers between J&K and Ladakh. A year after the reorganisation of J&K, the cadre allocation was yet to be completed. All new recruits will be allocated the AGMUT cadre, the original Act said.

There are around four lakh government employees in the undivided J&K. Of the 58 IAS and 66 IPS officers, nine and 16 are on Central deputation or suspension respectively. The sanctioned strength of IAS and IPS officers in J&K is 137 and 147 respectively.

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